Vodafone has announced it will not be renewing its sponsorship of English cricket when the current four-year deal ends in January 2010. The decision not to renew the 12-year sponsorship comes as part of a more general review of its operations. It is rumoured that it will be taking a similar decision regarding its involvement in football's Champions League. The contract will remain for next summer's Ashes series and finishes after England's tour of South Africa in 2009-10.
The news, while not unexpected, will leave the ECB searching for a replacement at a time most companies are cutting back on such deals.
And it comes on a day when Sport England are likely to announce that cricket's central funding will be slashed by £10 million, reducing the amount available for grassroots development between 2009 and 2013 at £43 million. This may well seriously affect the ECB's Chance to Shine scheme, which aims to raise £50 million over 10 years, with private donations matched by the government's National Sports Plan.